AFWF Behind the Scenes

A Sway sake lesson, menu approval at Uchi & at the farmers' market with Barley Swine

Sake 101 at Sway, menu approval at Uchi & shopping with Barley Swine

Uchi Culinary Director Philip Speer plates a dish
Uchi Culinary Director Philip Speer plates a dish. Courtesy of Austin Food & Wine Festival

For the past few months, the Austin Food & Wine Festival (AFWF) team has been hard at work, producing videos of the behind-the-scenes action of the biggest players in Austin's fine dining industry.

The clips give rare insight into the creative minds that will be present at the AFWF this weekend, so we've gathered our favorites from Sway Thai, Uchi and Barley Swine below. 

Behind the Bar: Sake 101 with Sway’s Nate Wales

Wales breaks down the three categories of filtered sake (who knew?): Junmai, Gingo, Jumai Daiginjo. He recommends the Black & Gold for an every-day sake, easily found at a lot of liquor stores. 

And you know how people are always hating on warm sake? He says don't worry about it — it's up to your preference. Just warm it up in a vat of toasty water, but don't let it get too hot.

The Uchi Tasting Tradition

Every few weeks, the cooks and chefs prepare inventive dishes to bring before Philip Speer and Tyson Cole. If the dishes meet the big-wigs' approval (and Cole and Speer definitely don't hold back on their opinions) they are added to the menu as a special for period of time.

It's a rite of passage for the younger Uchi staff, who spend months perfecting their presentation.

Republic Square Farmers' Market with Bryce & Jack Gilmore

Father and son duo, Jack (chef/owner of Jack Allen's Kitchen) and Bryce Gilmore (chef/owner of Barley Swine and Odd Duck) recommend that people shop for what's fresh and then decide what to cook. In fact, Bryce reveals that Barley Swine uses area farmers markets as inspiration for the restaurant's menu: "It's a better product when it's close by and doesn't have to travel far."

"These farmers are so resilient — and you've got to respect that," says Jack.


Hungry after watching these videos? Tickets are still available for the Austin Food & Wine Festival, April 26 - 28.